ATG’s sister operation, online auction platform the-saleroom.com, has gone some way to solving the problem of alerting auctioneers to rogue bidders under the Data Protection Act.
ATG Media director Richard Lewis flagged up
the measures after hearing of the problems faced by Fernhurst,
Surrey auctioneer John Nicholson in dealing with an unpaid
bill of £200,000.
Mr Lewis explained that those signing up to
bid via the-saleroom.com must agree to information on
them being collected and used to prevent defaults in payment at
auction. This meets the terms of the Data Protection Act for the
sharing of such information.
informed of the following:
"Sometimes bidders breach the terms of their
auction contract with an auctioneer, fail to conclude a purchase
and 'default'. This has a detrimental impact on all parties
involved from the auctioneer and the seller to the other potential
buyers of the item subject to the transaction. It prevents us from
providing a timely and efficient service to all our users.
"We therefore now collect and store
additional personal data regarding defaulted transactions and we
may share this personal data with auctioneers on an ongoing basis
to ensure the integrity and reputation of our services and to
protect auctioneers and sellers from future default."
They are also advised to read the sections
on "Information Regarding Default" and "Uses Made of Default
Information" carefully. The latter section includes the advice: "In
addition, Default Information may be shared with auctioneers who
may rely on it when deciding whether to enter into a transaction
with you in the future."
Mr Lewis explained that while the identity
of a defaulting bidder might be divulged under this system, the-saleroom.com would not identify or share
the details of auctioneers who had fallen victim to them.
Other measures the website has adopted to
improve security and reduce fraud include the introduction of 3D
verification security and systems that help identify banned
fraudsters when they attempt to register again using new contact
In Mr Nicholson's case, the problem arose
with a phone bidder registering at the eleventh hour before the
sale, but from a practical standpoint making it compulsory for
bidders to sign up to similar terms and conditions as those adopted
by the-saleroom.com on the collection and dissemination of personal
information would be possible offline as well under such
"As we explain, our priority is to be able
to provide a timely and efficient service to all our users, so it
is important that all parties can rely on the integrity of others,"
said Mr Lewis.
"We have been operating this policy since
the early part of last year and have found it works very well. We
are also continuously looking at ways of improving security and
confidence in the system and have adopted a number of other
measures that have helped with this."